Information, bargaining, corruption and trade: evidence from small traders in East Africa
Last registered on February 12, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Information, bargaining, corruption and trade: evidence from small traders in East Africa
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005392
Initial registration date
February 12, 2020
Last updated
February 12, 2020 1:45 PM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
U.C. Berkeley
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-02-24
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This research project focuses on trade barriers for small-scale cross-border traders. These traders face multiple intermediaries in the process of crossing the border, increasing their -already substantial- trade costs. Traders do not always know the official rate of each intermediary and may be taken advantage of. Indeed, an asymmetry of information between traders and intermediaries or border agents about prices and rates may play a significant role in increasing trade costs, fueling corruption and affect traders' business. Through a RCT in East-Africa, I test whether giving information to traders about market prices, border prices and taxes can affect bargaining, lower the cost at the border and affect small-scale traders’ choices of trade route. Such reductions in trade costs may increase and/or formalize trade, increase traders’ profit and have spillover effects along the value chain.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Wiseman , Eleanor. 2020. "Information, bargaining, corruption and trade: evidence from small traders in East Africa." AEA RCT Registry. February 12. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5392-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2020-03-23
Intervention End Date
2020-04-17
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Trade costs: transport costs, tariffs/taxes, bribes
Trade outcomes: imports/exports quantity, type of products traded, traders’ choice of formal versus informal border crossing
Sourcing/Selling outcomes and outcomes on value chain: supplier and supplier market choice, customer/selling market choice, traders' frequency of purchase from suppliers (could be farmers or traders), the number of suppliers purchased from, supplier's sales, supplier's prices
Market prices
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
A listing of traders will be carried out in markets located close to Busia (Uganda-Kenya crossing) and Isibania (Tanzania-Kenya crossing). A random sample of traders will be selected based on pre-selected stratas. A baseline will be administered to the sample of selected traders and their main supplier. A random sample of traders (treatment group) will receive access to a platform where they can access market prices, exchange rate information and information about tax rates and border crossing procedures. The control group will not receive access to this platform. High frequency data will be collected on trading behaviors on both treatment and control groups throughout the study. Finally, an endline study will be administered both on traders and main suppliers.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by a computer
Randomization Unit
Trader level randomization, clustered at market (and possibly type of goods) level to account for spillovers
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
40 markets (located close to two borders) and 4-6 types of goods
Sample size: planned number of observations
1000 traders, 1000-2000 suppliers (farmers or traders)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 treatment traders, 500 control traders
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Maseno University Ethics Review Committee
IRB Approval Date
2019-11-21
IRB Approval Number
MSU/DRPI/MUERC/00776/19
IRB Name
U.C. Berkeley CPHS
IRB Approval Date
2019-09-16
IRB Approval Number
2019-08-12469